By Nai Kanell
Vice President of Marketing

The concept of hotel desks is a modern one, originating in the last decade. It’s a way of optimizing workspaces to accommodate more workers by scheduling desks like a timeshare. The practice gets its name from its similarity to hotel bookings: different guests stay in the same room on any given night. With a hotel desk, a singular space can be used by many people at different times to drive down the cost of operating that space.

Not only does hoteling optimize workspaces for efficiency high above their static capacity, it also has the potential to optimize the workers using those hotel desks (please also read our quick guide to office hoteling best practices). In particular, contractors, part-time staff, consultants and other “temporary workers” all benefit from hotel desking. They can instantly and easily be slotted into a workplace with minimal disruption to the task at hand or the static workforce around them.

Breaking down the benefits of hotel desks starts by understanding how these dynamic workspaces play into your overall facilities management.

A Top-Down View of Your Workplace

Through the lens of Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software like SpaceIQ, it’s possible to map out your entire workplace, complete with every workstation and desk. Plugging your workforce into a CAFM-generated overview allows you to see who works where on a daily basis. More importantly, however, it enables oversight of desks that may be open or under-utilized. This is where hoteling becomes instrumental. Take a look at a real-world example.

Let’s say your office has 50 total workstations. You currently employ 45 full-time employees, but need to expand your workforce to include 10 more contract workers for a temporary project. Logistically, your facilities can’t support this influx of staff without doubling up workstations or expanding—both of which come with costs. Overcrowding leads to a drop in productivity and renting facilities incurs major overhead.

The solution in this situation is hoteling. Hot desking the 5 available workspaces enables you to house 10 temporary workers. Divide them into morning and afternoon shifts or across the different days of the week—whatever solution enables maximum utilization of your available space. Ultimately, you get 10 workers occupying 5 desks, with no added costs or setbacks.

Again, for effective hoteling to be possible, a comprehensive, top-down view of the workplace is needed. SpaceIQ enables available workspaces to be pinpointed and employees to be tracked, to determine the utilization of each space at any given time.

Allocating Hot Desks

For larger companies with hundreds or thousands of employees, or those operating multiple locations, space allocation becomes paramount. More than just understanding the number of available workspaces or the demand for space, it’s crucial to determine how available hotel desks should be used for maximum productivity. Some examples include:

  • Open availability. In co-working spaces or communal facilities, it can be virtually impossible to predict desk demand on a daily basis, without pre-scheduling. Having hotel desks set aside enables your facilities to adapt to demand as-needed.
  • Project staffers. In the same way a conference room may serve the temporary needs of a group, hotel desking can be a quick fix to creating space for project staffers. Whether the project lasts a day or a month, versatile desking options ensure optimal space utilization.
  • Consultants. Many consultants spend time in-house during their tenure. Instead of clearing permanent space for them, coordinate in-house work days and use SpaceIQ to reserve hotel desks on those specific days.
  • Transition desking. Finding temporary seating for full-time workers can become a necessity during departmental moves or construction on facilities. Hotel desking creates a temporary home for displaced workers, without driving up facilities costs.

The applications for dedicated hotel desks within a business are virtually limitless. What makes them effective is understanding how to leverage them for workforce expansion, without the need for facilities expansion.

Attracting a Versatile Workforce

The benefits of featuring hotel desks in your workspace go beyond just optimizing your own operational efficiency. These versatile, accommodating desks are also a draw for workers. In the modern economic climate, contractors and part-time staffers flock to gigs that offer them creature comforts: such as a desk to call their own, if only for the meantime.

Knowing that there’s a desk waiting for them at your facilities can encourage many reputable contractors and consultants to actively seek a position with your company. Instead of collaborating entirely via phone, email or video conferencing, gig workers will be able to seamlessly integrate themselves into your workforce for better productivity. And, by not having to work in cafeterias, conference rooms, lounges or breakrooms, part-time workers can work comfortably and distraction-free.

Don’t forget: having a desk ready for your contractors also means you know exactly where to find them! For many facilities managers, this is important in maintaining control over operations. Time spent hunting down employees is time wasted. SpaceIQ makes it easy to pull up a floorplan and type in a name to instantly locate a person of interest.

Managing a Dynamic Workplace

There’s one critical drawback to hotel desking: it breeds chaos when not managed properly. Employee overlap can stifle productivity and overbooking becomes a concern that leaves workers without a place of their own. SpaceIQ is designed specifically around preventing these issues from arising.

SpaceIQ has a twofold safeguard against overbooking or mismanagement of hotel desks. First, the ability to map out a comprehensive overview of all workstations helps facility managers determine how many actual workstations exist. Second, the ability of administrators to assign employees to a workstation prevents staffing conflicts.

Rather than relying on verbal cues or pen and paper forecasting plans, CAFM software compiles hotel desking and workforce information into a single, collaborative map that provides visual cues for managing a dynamic work environment.

Factoring in Temporary Desks

Many companies are driving down the cost efficiency of their facilities by failing to recognize the opportunity for hotel desks. It’s important to take a look at some of the factors that may be signaling the demand for these types of timeshare spaces:

  • How many part-time workers have a dedicated desk?
  • What portion of your staff is temporary and how are you currently accommodating them?
  • If you’re currently at capacity, are there opportunities for hotel desks?
  • What portion of your facilities is unused and could be repurposed to recoup costs?

Determining your own unique opportunity for hotel desking comes from using SpaceIQ to take a top-down view of your current workplace and its operations. Factoring in temporary desking solutions then comes from understanding where space is over- or under-utilized, and what portion of your workforce is full vs. part time. Once you have all of the information, it’s easy to crunch the numbers to see what costs you could be saving or recouping through hoteling.

If any portion of your workforce is made up of contractors or part-time workers, there’s a significant chance that having dynamic workspaces will benefit you. Being able to tailor your workplace around the occasional needs of these workers means giving them a temporary space to call their own, without taking a hit to your facilities’ overhead costs.

Using SpaceIQ to map and assess your facilities will give you all of the information you need to assess what space is rife for hoteling and how you can best accommodate your occasional workforce to optimize their comfort and productivity—all without disrupting your full-time, permanent staff.

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